Teatro Comunale di Bologna > 18:00

[Sieurins bilder] / EROTIKON

Erotikon introduce by Jeanne Pommeau (NFA)

For [Sieurins Bilder]: Harp accompaniment by Eduardo Raon
For Erotikon: Music composed for piano four-hands by Matti Bye and performed by Matti Bye and Laura Naukkarinen



Sunday 30/08/2020


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Emil Sieurin was a reputed Swedish engineer, employed by the famous Höganäs manufacturer of ceramics and bricks in the South of Sweden (he even invented a new method for the extraction of iron) and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (Kungl. Ingenjörsvetenskapsakademien). During a visit to Paris at the turn of the last century, he acquired 19 films from Gaumont. The films included fiction as well as non-fiction titles, of which many depicted the Paris World Expo in 1900. He also bought a Gaumont camera, and in 1901 he shot images of work and leisure in his hometown of Höganäs, as well as some public events in the bigger, cities of Helsingborg and Malmö nearby. With his images of factories and both workers’ and the bourgeoisie’s everyday life, he became a pioneer in Swedish filmmaking, creating some of the first moving images of non-celebrities. His nitrate reels and equipment seem to have been deposited with the Museum of Science and Technology (of which Sieurin was a member) in the late 1920s – that is before the museum began housing the collections of Svenska Filmsamfundet (the origins of the collections of the Swedish Film Institute), which was founded in 1933. Investigations by historians so far indicate that neither the Gaumont reel nor the Swedish footage were screened in public. It is a well-known fact that scientific figures took an interest in modernity and the new media. One can for instance think of Antonino Sagarmínaga, an industrialist who acquired films to screen in a cultural society in Bilbao, and whose collection is held at Filmoteca Española. Films screened in private or in closed societies, and not acquired for public screening, constitute an interesting and relevant part of early cinema history, and Sieurin is a fascinating figure in this context, as he also shot films himself. Jon Wengström,

Camille Blot-Wellens

Vid ingången till brukskontoret (Entrance of the Company offices); Tegelslagning i Höganäs (Brick production in Höganäs); Tegellastning i Höganäs (Brick loading in Höganäs); Skorstenen faller (Falling chimney); Dans i Höganäs tivoli år 1901 (Dance at the Höganäs fair ground, 1901); Höganäs musikkår (The Höganäs music band); Karussel i Höganäs vid Michaeli marknad år 1901 (Merry-go-round at the Höganäs Michaeli’s market); Tennis; Brandkåren i Helsingborg (The fire brigade, Helsingborg); Militären kommer från avtäckningen av Stenbocksstatyn år 1901 (Troops parading on occasion of the unveiling of the Stenbock Monument in Helsingborg, 1901); Stenbocksstatyns avtäckning i Hälsingborg år 1901 (Unveiling the Stenbock Monument in Helsingborg, 1901); “Tapperhetens” sjösättning i Malmö år 1901 (Ship Launch of the “Courage” in Malmö, 1901)   

Cast and Credits

35mm. L.: 207 m. D.: 11’ a 16 f/s. Col.


Film Notes

Made at the height of the Golden Age of Swedish silent cinema, Erotikon was a successful attempt by major studio Svensk Filmindustri to move away from classic literary adaptations shot in spectacular natural locations, in favour of films with a contemporary urban setting. Director Mauritz Stiller, who had already displayed a talent for urban comedy in previous years, reached new heights in Erotikon; the film is considered to be the first sophisticated comedy, and Billy Wilder recalled that “Lubitsch told me he learned everything from this picture”. Stiller depicts with irony and empathy a comedy of deceptions among the Stockholm bourgeoisie, creating characters capable of deep emotions when true love comes their way. At the centre of Erotikon is a professor’s bored wife courted by two other men. At one point her entomologist husband declares that the insects he is studying prefer to have more than one partner, and indeed the characters studied under Stiller’s microscope tend to display the same preference. Tora Teje, the film’s leading lady, was at the time a celebrated stage actress. When she turned to film acting in 1919, she instantly became Sweden’s first major movie star and the focus of numerous articles in the trade papers, in which she posed wearing lavish gowns in luxurious settings. She embodied the idea of a diva with an international flair, not unlike the elegant lady she plays in the film. The other female protagonist, the niece coveting the professor, is depicted by Karin Molander. Both actresses portray strong women who actively influence the turn of events. The illustrated intertitles by title designer Alva Lundin provide wonderfully witty commentaries on the characters and the action. Lundin is known to have designed illustrated intertitles for many Swedish silent films, but unfortunately the original title cards for most of her films are lost. Erotikon is loosely based on the play A kék róka (The Blue Fox Fur Stole), by Hungarian playwright Ferenc Herczeg, which was performed in Stockholm in 1917 (incidentally, with Tora Teje in the role of the professor’s niece). In 2020, the Swedish Film Institute struck two 35mm black-and-white prints, from a safety duplicate negative in its Archival Film Collections. The tinting of the new prints was undertaken by Narodní filmový archív, Prague, and by Jan Ledecky at Colorspace laboratory in the Czech Republic, where the colours were applied with surviving frames of a period nitrate print as reference. The authenticity of the process of applying tints on black-and-white stock creates something truer to the original perception of the film. Not only that, but analysis of the surviving frames indicated that some of the colours chosen in previous preservations had been invented.

                                                                                                                                                                         Jon Wengström


Cast and Credits

F.: Henrik Jaenzon. Scgf.: Axel Esbensen. Int.: Tora Teje (Irene), Anders de Wahl (Leo Charpentier), Karin Molander (Marthe), Elin Lagergren (madre di Irene), Lars Hanson (Preben Wells), Vilhelm Bryde (barone Felix), Torsten Hammaren (professor Sidonius). Prod.: Svensk Filmindustri. 35mm. L.: 1764 m. D.: 96’ a 16 f/s. Bn, imbibito e virato (da Jan Ledecky). Didascalie svedesi.